: Civilized Lepers

in Mixed Medicines

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780226031637
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226031651 | DOI:
: Civilized Lepers

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  • History of Science and Technology


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This chapter, which explores the local meanings/representations of leprosy and the sorts of actions authorized by cultural readings of it, describes the attempted transformation of an autochthonous leper village into a French leproserie, which in its ideal state was to be an efficient, rational totalizing institution. The exceptional nature of the leper in the French colonial context is exemplified by the example of a leprous prisoner discovered in Cambodia. In the French conception, the leper was to be excluded from all levels of society for reasons that went beyond health. Experiments on potential cures played a vital part of leprosy management. It is noted that the medical “treatment” was not the primary factor in leprosy management in Cambodia. The leper in Cambodia was a disease chimera, policies constructed around which were ultimately ineffective.

Keywords: leprosy; autochthonous leper village; leproserie; Cambodia; health; disease chimera

Chapter.  9617 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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